Home Decor Inspiration
I received a two-part question from a reader that I will answer in the next two days. The first part was a general question about where I’m going to find inspiration for interior design, and I’m going to answer that part today. The second part was a question about his house in particular, so I will answer it tomorrow (I hope). But for now, here’s his general question for me…
When I’m looking for inspiration for the design and decoration of my home, I have three essential sources: Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz. I often use all these resources, but I use them in different ways. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, and I have different expectations when using each resource. So let me share how and when I use them all.
Instagram is my favorite source of inspiration for interior design, but it’s also the hardest to find when I’m looking for something specific. So instead of using it as a search engine when I’m looking for a specific thing, I use it more for general inspiration and I keep photos that I find really inspiring and that I want to be able to refer to.
First of all, I filled my Instagram feed with a lot of colors, because that’s what really inspires me. I have found many designers, decorators, bloggers and shops who love color as much as I do. And every time I come across a new account for me that contains many photos of houses filled with colors, I make sure to follow it. Here are some of my favorite accounts to follow.
I have general folders for things like “colored rooms”, but I also have more specific folders for things like “studio ideas” and “bathroom ideas” and the like. My biggest folder is the one called “Make This” filled with things I would like to try to do at some point, and it is filled with all kinds of items ranging from art to garden furniture.
One of my absolute favorite features of Instagram is the explore function. Instagram the more Instagram is used and the more you like, store and interact with Instagram accounts and photos, the more the Instagram algorithm learns what you like. And after a while, when you click on the “Search” icon at the bottom of the screen, it will automatically find all kinds of eye candy based on the things you have interacted with. It doesn’t always work out for them, and for some reason, I’ve always mixed up ridiculous celebrity photos in my crawl results (I don’t follow celebrities and I don’t really care), but for the most part it gives me really interesting things to look at. Here’s what my research brought this morning…
All these things do not interest me, of course. But I’m sure I see a few who do. And if I click on one of the images in the room and start scrolling, it brings up similar elements. For example, on my Explorer page, I clicked on a colored piece, then I started scrolling, and this is what I saw…
I mean, I can find a ton of inspiration in these photos, and even more as I keep scrolling! And that’s why Instagram can also be peril for me. 😀 I can waste hours of my time exploring Instagram this way if I’m not careful.
A major drawback of Instagram is that the search function itself is not very good. This usually works best if you search by hashtags, but it only works if what you want to search for is actually a hashtag. It’s not as useful if you want to search for a longer search term that doesn’t have a useful hashtag.
So Instagram is filled with inspiration, and I like to scroll through and save photos in my various folders that I can then go back and reference at any time. But if I want to look for something very specific, then the other two will join.
Whenever I have a specific idea that I want to research, Houzz is almost always my first stop for interior design inspiration. I love Houzz because it is filled with photos of professionals. You will need professional designers, decorators, builders, etc. And the quality of the images is usually very good. Not all of them are good, but most are.
The downside of Houzz is that the search function is not great. It’s better than Instagram, that’s for sure. But this is far from the best. So many times I go looking for something on Houzz, and the photos that came back to me have absolutely nothing to do with the term I was looking for. I find that it usually works better if you use more general search terms like “green walls” or even “living room green walls”.”But if the search term is something much more complicated than that, it can be difficult to find relevant photos.
For example, when I was looking for images as inspiration for our bathroom vanities, which I plan to build in the form of tables with twisted legs, I went to Houzz in the hope of finding inspiration.
My first search was “table style vanity.”He returned a lot of bathroom photos, but in the first two lines of the search results, is there anything that looks like a table-style vanity? No. I scrolled and scrolled, and I didn’t find anything that looked like what I was looking for.
And finally, I searched for “open” with crooked legs.”It finally got me somewhere on the baseball field, but it still wasn’t what I was looking for.
So Houzz can be very useful, and I love the quality of the photos I find there. But I would like them to improve their search function a little. As it is, it is only really useful if you want to search for very general terms. What to see “green kitchens”? Houzz can help you with that. And often these general search terms are a great place to start when you’re just starting your room design/decorating plan.
Where I associate Houzz more with professional types, I associate Pinterest more with bloggers and do-it-yourselfers. This does not mean anything negative about bloggers and do-it-yourselfers (heck, I am one! 😀 ), but the bottom bar means that Pinterest is filled with a lot more stuff, so the site itself tends to have a more cluttered (almost overwhelming) feel, and the photos are usually not of very good quality.
But what Pinterest has is a very robust search engine, and it’s filled with inspiration for home decor. I would even say that it is on a par with Google. I mean, if you search for something on Pinterest, you’ll find it. Do you want to find “plate bird feeders”? Find this and you will see about 100 of them.
The problem with Pinterest is that when I click on this photo, will it really open? Will this lead me to a useful blog with larger images? Or was this PIN hijacked by a spammer with this link leading to a low-budget website full of junk that I would never buy, and with the photo I wanted to see nowhere in sight? Pinterest was in trouble. And while the search function is really good, these other issues explain why Pinterest is usually my last stop. But I almost always end up there.
So that’s my basic overview of looking for inspiration online. Instagram Instagram Instagram Instagram the only place I follow certain people is Instagram, but I don’t exclusively use Instagram to follow these people. About half of my time on Instagram is spent scrolling through interesting things on the Explore function, and then I save everything that catches my eye in my various labeled folders.
And then finally, I go to the much messier Pinterest with the much more robust search function and I try there. I almost always find inspiration there, but whether or not these Pins lead me to a useful website is right or wrong. I don’t really use Pinterest in any other way. I don’t spend a lot of time setting up Pinterest boards, following people, saving photos to Pinterest boards, etc. For me, Pinterest is just a search engine that I use the same way I would use Google.